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New Administrators

SRCS Welcomes New EL Director and New Principal

After an extensive search process for two key administrator positions, San Rafael City Schools (SRCS) is pleased to announce the Board of Education recently appointed Oscar Medina as the Director, English Learner Programs at the District Office and Cecilia Perez as the Principal at Bahia Vista Elementary School. The additions complete the SRCS administrative team for the 2014-2015 school year. 

Oscar MedinaOscar Medina, Director, English Learner Programs
Throughout his career, Oscar Medina has had a prominent leadership role in addressing the needs of English learners (EL) in particular, but also all under-performing students. Medina previously served as Director of Language Acquisition / State & Federal Programs for Sweetwater Union High School District, California’s largest secondary school district. His leadership resulted in very substantial, long-term academic gains for English learners and other under-performing students at all 24 schools. The California Association for Bilingual Education rewarded those efforts by selecting the organization as 2011 District of the Year.

The Director, English Learner Programs is a new position for the District. It was developed as part of the District’s Local Control Accountability Plan, addressing the District’s need to support students’ acquisition of English, while also learning the academic content along with their grade-level peers. “Oscar will be an invaluable addition to our team,” said Superintendent Dr. Michael Watenpaugh. “His vast experience developing and implementing programs for English learners will positively enhance the education of this population of students in SRCS.  

Medina’s expertise will also directly support classroom teachers and families. At both site and district levels, Medina strives to garner high levels of parent support and involvement through transparency, thoroughness and inclusiveness. “I value everyone’s input, expertise and commitment to our collaborative effort to improve the lives of children and their families,” he said. 

Medina started his career as a teacher of mathematics, English and physics. Afterwards, he served as a compliance officer for the California Department of Education, where he focused on improving EL programs in some of the most challenging school districts in the state. He then served as a Coordinator of English Learner Services for the San Diego County Office of Education where he provided guidance to the county’s 42 school districts regarding the implementation of state policy and effective, research-based program designs.

“I look forward to collaborating with the excellent educators of San Rafael City Schools and support ongoing efforts to increase the academic achievement of all students as well as English learners,” said Medina. “My wife and I visited some schools and parts of the community and feel it is an ideal setting to raise our children.”

Cecilia PerezCecilia Perez, Principal, Bahia Vista Elementary School
During the search for Bahia Vista’s next leader, it became evident that the ideal candidate was already within San Rafael City Schools. Cecilia Perez is already well known and respected in the Canal community. She began her teaching career at Bahia Vista, where she taught for 16 years before becoming the Literacy Coach at Venetia Valley in 2013. 

“My return to Bahia Vista is most certainly a sweet homecoming, but more importantly, it is an opportunity for me to serve the school and community that have always inspired me to provide a high quality instructional program for all of our students,” Perez said.

Perez has a unique combination of skills, talents and experience that will uplift the academic excellence and culture of the school and community that she holds so close to her heart. She is bilingual, bicultural and biliterate and she has developed close bonds with the families, staff and community. 

“Cecilia is taking on the role of principal of Bahia Vista with her whole heart,” said Dr. Harriet MacLean, Assistant Superintendent, Education Services. “She is deeply invested in the school community and has a world of expertise in early, balanced literacy to offer. We are so excited to have her take on leadership of this exemplary school.” 

Perez’s commitment to equity and excellence in education for all students has guided her on her trajectory as an educator for nearly 20 years. She had numerous responsibilities in her role as biliteracy coach at Venetia Valley, including facilitating and supporting grade-level teams in designing and realigning curriculum to the Common Core standards and guiding the teams in using assessment data to examine student progress, differentiate instruction and establish common goals.  She also partnered closely with the school leadership on the school’s new biliteracy program, SEAL implementation, staff professional development, facility issues and more. She held countless roles during her prior tenure with Bahia Vista, including as a grade-level teacher and leader, PTO teacher representative, District Curriculum Council member, mentor for Dominican University student teachers, among others. She was recognized with the Golden Bell Award in 2009. 

Perez is working closely with interim principal, Ms. Ruth Reynolds, as well as Bahia Vista teachers and staff and District administrators to ensure a smooth and successful transition. She will officially assume the role of principal on Dec. 1.